Years ago when I was a practicing therapist there was a ritual I followed every morning. Part of my ritual was to sit down at my kitchen table with my first cup of coffee and write a gratitude list. I believe that when we have an appreciation for our gifts the quality of our life can improve. There is science to support my theory. Positive Psychology tells us that practicing thankfulness can combat negative situations.
During the span of time that I was truly diligent about writing my Gratitude List I was living in a rural small town about 20 miles outside of Houston. I had a small vegetable garden in my back yard. I grew potatoes, onions, leafy greens, yellow squash, tomatoes and jalapenos… nothing extravagant, just the things I wanted to eat. I made my own strawberry and apple jam. My office was exactly 8 minutes from my driveway, that’s if every traffic light was red. I’m wandering a little, but it’s to illustrate a point.My life was simpler then. I was able to take the time out of each day to reflect on my life and pay attention to all of the things in my life for which I am grateful. Effective today I am reinstituting that part of my morning ritual. I have started my Gratitude List. I encourage you to join with me and start your own Gratitude List. Let me give you a few words of warning before you decide to join me. Gratitude does not come as easily as complaining. Start slowly. Learn to be grateful for both the obvious things like waking up and the things you may take for granted, like the ability to walk to your car.
I wish now that I still had those lists I made so many years ago when my child was still young and I would look out of my kitchen window and watch the birds at the bird feeder, the spring flowers billowing in the wind and an occasional deer creeping through the woods. I plan to hold on the new list so that I can reflect in one year, five years or even in ten years. As we move forward in life it’s always interesting to stop and take stock of how far we’ve travelled on our journey.How often do you stop to acknowledge the things for which you are grateful?
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